InGoal Daily Update: Lundqvist loses it in Montreal
… Plus Kiprusoff responds to coach’s criticism, Giguere returns with advice for Reimer, Mason injured, and more in the Jan. 16 Daily Update
InGoal Magazine would like to think maybe Henrik Lundqvist just wanted to make the rest of us feel better about ourselves by showing he’s not perfect despite being a well-paid, superb puck-stopping, style 100-most-beautiful-people-in-the-world list making Swede. But it probably had more to do with years of pent-up misery in Montreal, three quick goals, a team that won’t score for him, and Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty hurtling into his net.
Either way there were smiles when the Rangers star briefly lost it and began raining blocker punches on a prone Pacioretty after being run over in his crease late in the the second period of a 3-2 loss. Even more smiles when it left New York with a power play despite a penalty to suddenly more human Lundqvist that couldn’t be ignored.
“I lost it a little bit,” Lundqvist, who received a roughing penalty to Pacioretty’s double-minor for roughing and goaltender interference, told reporters after the game. “It’s hard to stay calm. But it wasn’t too bad. If he was standing up, I probably wouldn’t have gone after him. I felt he didn’t try to stop. But the energy in this building makes you want to jump guys sometimes. It’s hard to stay calm. Seriously, it happens. During the season you always have people run into you, but as long as they try to stop, nothing happens.”
There is a far-too-short glimpse of the attack 2:25 into this NHL.com game highlight:
Kiprusoff responds to criticism with sharp shootout win
Miikka Kiprusoff is a man of few words, so when he admits the stinging criticism of Calgary coach Brent Sutter affected him, it’s worth noting. Kiprusoff bounced back after being ripped publicly by his head coach and watching backup Henrik Karlsson beat Ottawa on Friday, stopping 32 shots in regulation before a rebound tied it on a 6-on-4 with 13 seconds left, and two of four in the shootout for a 2-1 win.
“Of course you hear it. I can’t lie about that,” Kiprusoff said of Sutter’s criticism following a loss to Carolina earlier in the week. “You can’t worry. I know pretty well myself what I have to do. I’ve been working hard.”
Sutter praised Kiprusoff this time after pointed criticism in the Calgary Sun earlier in the week after Kiprusoff let in soft goals in three straight losses and was yanked after four on eight shots against Carolina:
“Too many easy goals. It’s bothersome. He’s accountable like everyone else. He’s battling it right now. He’s fighting it. He’s got to work himself through it. He’s got to fight himself through it. And Kipper will. But it’s not the time of year … we can’t afford not to have good goaltending. We need to have it. Kipper is obviously a very good goaltender, but right now he’s fighting it.”
Sportsnet’s online columnist Mark Spector has a great piece breaking down Kiprusoff’s playing time, and why the Flames need to be careful in how they handle the aging, but still often spectacular, Finnish stopper.
Giguere back, with words of wisdom
Jean-Sebastien Giguere returned Saturday against the Flames from a nagging groin injury that has bothered him for months and threatened his season, but before playing the veteran had some words of wisdom for 22-year-old James Reimer, who was sent down to the AHL despite a great recent run with the Maple Leafs.
(And be sure to check out InGoal’s exclusive first chat with Reimer after the demotion Friday).
“The key for him now is to go back down and keep pushing, keep working hard,” Giguere told reporters after Saturday’s morning skate. “We all agree he’s going to get a second chance, there’s no doubt about that. You just have to be patient. If you look at the beginning of the year, the plan probably was for him to play the full year in the minors, so I think he can be pretty proud of what he has done and use this as motivation and momentum.”
One-timers from the Goaltending World (Wide Web):
~ Atlanta backup Chris Mason has endured a trying first season with the Thrashers, and it didn’t get any better on Saturday night. Just as it appeared he might get to play more with Ondrej Pavelec finally showing signs of wearing down after an amazing first half, Mason got run over by teammate Chris Thorburn early in the first period and, after originally staying in the game, was forced to leave. Pavelec gave up a goal on the first shot he saw – to be fair it was a power play – and Mason will be re-evaluated later Sunday.
~ The Los Angeles Kings honoured goaltending legend Rogie Vachon on Saturday night, and while InGoal Magazine has you covered in terms of those great retro jerseys and matching equipment and masks worn by the Kings stoppers (we caught their debut exclusively before the season opener), we will turn things over to the team’s website and its great (former L.A. Daily News) beat writer Rich Hammond for a good feature on Vachon himself. And the Mayors Manor blog has a good conversation with rookie Jonathan Bernier about his struggles as a first-year NHL backup before beating Edmonton in those vintage jerseys Saturday.
~ Sportsnet’s Mike Brophy examines the evolution of how goaltending is viewed, and the importance of balance and a good backup instead of riding a No.1 star too heavily. Ignoring some of the oddities – like listing both the Cnucks and Bruins as having the league’s best goals-against averages, it’s still a worthwhile read, if only to start the debate about whether Vancouver or Boston has the best tandem.
~ Ray Emery is ready to resume playing, according to a variety of reports online and through twitter. Just how that plays out will be interesting, but given the extreme nature of his injury and surgery, you’d have to think any comeback will start with a tryout in the AHL. Much was written about that injury and the procedure to save his career, even if it might leave him struggling to walk later in life, but the best in our humble opinion was.
~ Speaking of surgery involving hips (and Emery’s was far more serious than the garden variety labrum repairs that plague butterfly goaltenders), it’s a hot topic in Minnesota, where Niklas Backstrom and Jose Theodore are both out, leaving head coach Todd Richards to joke about relocating renowned hip surgeon Marc Philippon from his Vail clinic. Speaking of renowned, Minnesota beat reporter Michael Russo has the latest update on the Wild’s gimpy goalies – and whether Russian call up Anton Khubodin will keep starting in their place in the Star Tribune.